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Bought a 2012 mazda3 GT HB for my 17yo son who will put on maybe 6k miles/year. I have no idea about the past maintenance performed on the car.
The non-mazda dealer had the oil changed and battery. Its been running great. Will bring in for maintenance at the mazda dealer.
I've changed the air cabin filter and put on new tires.
What should I get done? Transmission, steering fluid, etc.. to make sure it is at a good baseline?
thank you
jonathan
 

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Demon Spawn
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If its auto trans and the fluid has turned a very deep dark red or gooey black leave it be and do not change it as it has suffered abuse/neglect(usually neglect) and changing it can make things worse as the clutch materials are floating in that old fluid and help it shift somewhat smooth now, new fluid will rid all that and cause friction that was not previously there, and can cause it to shift rough or worse. auto trans fluid is supposed to be very clear to very clear light red in color on a white towel. almost not visible on the dipstick because its so clear. if the fluid appears to be fairly new you might start with a drain and fill which get about 1/2 of the old fluid out on these transmissions, if its non skyactiv. if non skyactiv it has an easy to get a t drain bolt on the pan, so you don't have to drop the pan just pull the bolt after a good drive for 15ish miles or more to get the fluid warmed and mixed. get about 4 quarts of transmission fluid you need mazda type m-v (not mercon v they are different) Castrol import multi vehicle states this fluid compatibility on the back and that is the fluid I have used in my old mazdas and my 2011 with no issues. its readily available at most walmarts and parts stores. you could change the filter too but this requires dropping the pan and may not be needed if the fluid is in good shape. the power steering fluid is the same fluid as the tranny in these cars and should last the life of the power steering system (power steering system is less strenuous on fluid than tranny ever will be) but if its dark or you feel it needs to be changed it cant hurt, I change mine at about 80k intervals as it tends to get a little dark for my liking. the coolant needs to be flushed and changed at 120k especially if its still oe factory coolant that's right at its mileage. use the mazda coolant as it is longer lasting and wont hurt any components in the system its the "fl22" very dark ugly green kind. check the passenger side motor mount (under the coolant tank) for soft rubber or fluid leaks (looks like goopey oil residue) (its liquid filled) as they fail often and leaking fluid is the usual suspect indicator the aftermarket does not show a mount for this side and year range yet (10-13) but the 04-09 2.3 non turbo has the same measured dimensions on the mount and looks to be the same mount from me looking at them side by side. this is an easy fix that helps ride quality and noise some but if its just starting to get weak can be monitored for awhile for money saving, but when it leaks replace it. at that mileage shocks and struts maybe getting bad have them looked at and tested (kind of subjective so be there when they test, mainly have them look at the rears for leaks, front are gas filled and wont show leaks) make sure the alignment and tire rotations are done when they need to be (5,000 miles tires get rotated, 1x maybe 2x a year alignment done) this helps the tires last on these cars as the rear end suspension setup is hard on tires if you don't do this.

does it have the very bright white headlights that turn with the steering? if so the bulbs are rather pricey ($100 ea at parts stores here) but I found them on amazon for $72 a pair so just a heads up you will know if it has these easily by 1, the light is very white and goes down the road and to the sides quite a bit at night or 2 by standing outside the car with the lights on, does it have a separate high and low beam bulb that are both yellowish white? or 1 bright white bulb? if the latter the "high beam" is just a shield that moves(cant actually see this from outside) to let more light out for the HID not another bulb. I ask this because if it does have the HID set up then if a bulb goes out it maybe the expensive bulb dead or the even more expensive ballast that requires you remove the headlight assembly to replace that died, swapping bulbs can test this before doing the work. if you have "halogen" or the cheaper easier but less bright bulbs your assemblies look like this link: http://www.monsterautoparts.com/MAZDA/3/images_mazda_3/5221-0112L.jpg
if you have HID the brighter but more expensive bulbs then they will look like this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/2010-2011-M...ash=item33c3ccc459:g:RjkAAOSwI-BWLMF7&vxp=mtr

another tidbit the headlight assemblies especially HID ones (as I have) are very expensive as they have motors to move the beams with steering and to auto adjust height of beam and seem to like to leak a lot so keep an eye out for that in the rain and carwashes the seal around the ballast is where I would start fixing (on HID ones, halogens just replace the assembly as halogen assemblies are less than $200 each new aftermarket)before spending $1000 to repcle the whole thing, the seal is $4-10 and then you dry the light. but this is not an every mazda 3 problem and is not super common, just enough that I figured I would mention it.

other than those few this car specific things I stated above most of this goes for any used car at that mileage.
 

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Demon Spawn
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Check the service manual to see what needs to be done.
only issue with this is the owners manual tell us that the auto trans fluid never needs changing unless it gets dark or burnt smelling but by then its too late! auto trans fluid needs to be changed at minimum every 60k miles I don't care what car you have. fluids wear out even "lifetime" ones additives diminish and viscosity changes and the fluid becomes less effective as it heats and cools and gets dirty. that's why I also told him the owners manual states the power steering fluid is "lifetime" but I prefer to change it about 80k miles or whenever it gets a little dark. changing fluid is cheaper than changing failed parts on the side of the road because you didn't bother with the fluids. I passed on a 3 I was looking at because it has 70k miles and the auto trans fluid was BLACK and when I say black I mean 7000 mile used cheap conventional oil black it was goopey and separating on the dipstick and I walked away after I saw that. I ended up getting one with 61k that had nice clear red tranny fluid, fresh oil change (from its history in paper in the car) new tires just had an alignment when the tires were installed and the passenger motor mount was in great shape. but I even got the dealer to take $500 off the price and got it under suggested value by doing so. I also had the tranny fluid drained and filled at the local shop (just didn't feel like doing it) just to make me feel better and to get it on my maintenance schedule which is rigorous but needed if you want your cars to last
 
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